During his high school career, Chucky Williams was Mr. Everything. He played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, safety and returned kicks and he was good at it. During his senior year at Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic, Williams accounted for over 1,200 yards on offense, while also totaling four interceptions.
Rated as the No.52 safety prospect in the nation by Scout.com and originally an Ole Miss commitment, Williams signed with Louisville with the anticipation of becoming a starter in the Cardinals secondary.
Due in part to the decisions of both of Louisville's starting safeties from 2014 opting for the NFL following stellar junior seasons and his determination to constantly improve has Williams in position to be to fill the void at free safety.
“He's certainly in the thick of the competition,” said Cardinals safeties coach Greg Brown. “He's done a great job.”
Williams', now a redshirt sophomore, impressive progression to the top of the spring practice depth chart began late last year and his time studying the playbook has allowed his progress to continue.
“My hat is off to Chuck because he's improved himself,” Brown continued. “He's worked hard. You could tell that it really started to build last winter, during our season in the later part of the year. All the sudden we noticed that he just started making plays, and where he hadn't really made them in spring and during the early part of the fall, he started to make a lot of plays, so everyone kind of took note of that.
“He's carried that through this off season. He worked very hard and right now, he's done a great job with the playbook and that's a big part. When you're a safety you have to be able to take command and make calls. He's done an outstanding job of understanding the scheme, coach Grantham's scheme and our scheme, and applying that and being vocal and communicating with the rest of the DBs.”
As the 2014 season played out it was becoming clearer that both Gerod Holliman and James Sample could become underclassmen draft selections, Williams realized that he needed to improve his game if he wanted to fulfill his goal.
“I realized that I needed to wake up and show people what I could really do once I learn all the plays and everything like that,” he explained.
“I just want to get better. I feel like that if I become a leader out there that everyone will follow in my footsteps and we'll be on our way to where we need to be.”
The progression, both during off season conditioning and testing and the early days of spring practice, the result has been promising.
“I feel like that us as a defense, especially the secondary, is coming along great,” Williams said. “I think we've come a long way, so I think we're doing our job so far.”
The Cardinals resume spring practice on Friday at 3:50 p.m. and on Saturday morning at 9:50 am.